The crystallographer who confessed to data fabrication that has forced the retraction of a structure in a Journal of Immunology paper on birch pollen allergen — but later recanted — has been fired by the University of Salzburg.
Salzburg University has terminated prestigious biologist Robert Schwarzenbacher, because he allegedly forged findings in birch pollen allergen research. Now his other works are being investigated.
Salzburg University rector Heinrich Schmidinger told ORF.at that the firing came after a January 31 letter from Schwarzenbacher’s colleagues accusing him of misconduct. The university forwarded those allegations to the Agency for Scientific Integrity in Vienna, which confirmed they were true:
I think it is important that all of his publications be examined in order to determine whether this was a unique behavior, or whether it has happened several times at the end. To me he has certainly said that it was totally unique.
Schwarzenbacher will fight his dismissal, according to another story in ORF.at. On Wednesday afternoon, his lawyer issued the following statement on his behalf:
I am currently on sick leave and presently can say only the following about the termination by the University of Salzburg: The termination will be fought with the help of the [Government & Public Service] at the Salzburg regional court, as the University of Salzburg, despite the objection of the works council for the academic staff, issued the dismissal because of a fact made, and I also self-reported erroneous statements in a scientific publication in terms of my academic achievements by the Labour Relations Act is unwarranted. I ask for understanding that until the end of the proceedings, I can give no further information.
Thanks to Nancy Lapid for translations.